AND TO MAKE IT YOUR AMBITION
TO LEAD A QUIET LIFE AND ATTEND TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS
AND WORK WITH
YOUR HANDS, JUST AS WE COMMANDED YOU: kai philotimeisthai (PMN)
hesuchazein (PAN) kai prassein (PAN) ta idia kai ergazesthai (PMN) tais
[idiais] chersin humon, kathos umin pareggeilamen, (1PAAI):
(Pr 17:1; Eccl 4:6; Lam 3:26; 2Th 3:12; 1Ti 2:2; 1Pe 3:4) (Ro 15:20;
2Co 5:9) (Mk 13:34; Lk 12:42,43; Ro 12:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Col 3:22, 23,
24; 2Th 3:11; 1Ti 5:13; Titus 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 1Pe 4:10,11,15)
(kai) joins this to the preceding subject in which Paul
emphasizes the love of the brethren in which he desires the
saints to superabound toward one another. Note that Paul's exhortation
is three fold (make it your ambition to lead a quiet life... attend to
your own business...work with your own hands)
Constable agrees writing
Everyday habits of living manifest
love of the brethren as do more special demonstrations of affection.
It is these habits that Paul suggested the Thessalonians ponder in the
light of brotherly love. He suggested these goals as worthy objectives
for their maturing love. His words may reflect less than ideal
conditions in their church. (Walvoord,
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985.
Why would Paul speak about work at
this point? Although the text does not specifically answer this
question, most commentators agree that the truth about the imminent
return of the Lord Jesus had led some believers in Thessalonica to
begin to lead unruly lives, not even working because of their sense of
urgency. It is good to be urgent put Paul says we are to remain
orderly in our manner of life and obedient to the command to work with
one's hands. This would assure a proper witness to non-believers and
would also make sure the needs of all the believers would be provided
Be ambitious to mind
your own business!
Make it your ambition (5389)(philotimeomai
from philos = friend, loved +
honor) means literally to be fond of honour, to be actuated by love of
honor and hence to
strive or seek for honour and hence to be ambitious. In later
Greek it came to denote restless eagerness in any pursuit, hence, "to
strive eagerly, to be zealous."
Findlay holds that even in
the latter sense
there clings to it the connotation
of some desire to shine or pursuit of eminence. (The Epistles of Paul
the Apostle to the Thessalonians)
Hiebert comments that...
It is not certain just which sense
Paul intended the term to have here. If he meant "and to be ambitious,
to be quiet" (Rotherham)" he urges that the restless energy and
activity associated with ambition for eminence be channeled into the
task of living a quiet and calm life.
More probably, in harmony with later usage, it has the meaning "to
seek earnestly to be quiet" (Darby), urging them to be zealously
active in endeavoring to live quiet lives. In either case the advice
is paradoxical. (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
thus evolved to picture one who was to earnestly aspire to something,
implying strong ambition for the goal in view. The idea in the present
context is to be zealous, strive eagerly and even consider it an honor
to do so. The emphasis is on yearning that a particular thing will be
accomplished and fully give oneself to do the task.
Paul says to continually (present
tense) aspire or
direct your hopes or ambitions towards minding your own
business and working.
In his second epistle Paul
gives us a clue as to why he addresses this issue writing...
For we hear that some among you are
leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like
busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus
Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. (2Thes
BDAG explains the etymology
of this word and how it relates to the Greek word for honor noting
special honor (time) was accorded
persons who rendered exceptional service to the state or other
institutions, and many wealthy persons endeavored to outdo one another
in philanthropic public service...have as one’s ambition, consider it
an honor, aspire, with focus on idea of rendering service.
There are only 3 NT uses all by
Romans 15:20 (note)
And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was
already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation
2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore
also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be
pleasing to Him.
Moulton and Milligan explain
in all three (NT) passages seems to
have lost its original idea of emulating (“am ambitious”), and to mean
little more than “am zealous,” “strive eagerly”, in accordance with
its usage in late Greek ("remember how zealous you were at
Tristomos to remain with me” )
A quiet life -
One hand full of rest is better
than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. (Eccl 4:6)
Now such persons we command and
exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their
own bread. (2Thes 3:12)
First of all, then, I urge that
entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf
of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we
may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Ti
To lead a quiet life -
Hiebert comments that this exhortation...
implies that there was a spirit of
restlessness in the young church. It was due, apparently, not to
political influences, but rather to the new religious experiences and
hopes that had gripped their minds. Although there is nothing to prove
that this restlessness was caused by their excited anticipation of the
impending return of Christ, such a connection, nevertheless, seems
probable. The inspiring expectation of Christ's return, whereby
earthly interests were reduced in importance in their eyes, had become
the center of their excited interest. This connection seems justified
from the fact that Paul immediately follows this exhortation with his
treatment of the second advent, thereupon to return to further
practical exhortations concerning daily living. Paul urges that this
"eschatological restlessness" be turned into the proper channel.
Instead of allowing their excited expectation to lead them to neglect
their daily duties, let them use this enthusiasm faithfully to fulfill
those duties. (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
F F Bruce favors the view
that the restlessness was due to undue eschatological excitement, and
The frequency with which this sort
of' thing has happened over the centuries, makes it quite probable
that it could happen in Thessalonica around A.D. 50. (Bruce,
F F: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word,
Incorporated. 1982 or
To lead a quiet life
from hesuchos = quiet, still) means to be still or to be
silent, with different connotations suggested by the context (see the
5 NT uses below).
Hiebert notes that
basically means "to be at rest" and
was used of silence after speech, rest after labor, peace after war,
and the like; it was also used of tranquility or peace of mind; here
it is used to urge the living of a calm, restful life. The
...stresses that they must constantly strive to lead such a life. They
must eagerly endeavor to be eminent in the effort "to be quiet," live
tranquilly and restfully. Instead of allowing them to succumb to
fanatical excitement, Paul desires to recall them to restfulness of
mind and a balanced outlook upon life. If they will develop a quiet,
restful attitude, the outward manifestations of restlessness will
The idea include to be quiet,
inwardly calm, living quiet peaceable and orderly lives.
not running hither
and thither, but staying at home and minding their business
Paul's point in the present verse
is that in light of the certainty of the Lord's return, the
Thessalonians are to lead peaceful lives, free of conflict and
hostility toward others, which serves as a witness to the transforming
power of the gospel.
Constable says that...
Paul was telling the Thessalonians
to be less frantic, not less exuberant.
BDAG adds that in the
present context the idea of hesuchazo is to manifest...
conduct that does not disturb the
peace. Christian leaders endeavored to keep their members free of
anything that might be construed as disturbance of public order. (Arndt,
W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
Green writing on the meaning
of hesuchazo adds that...
At times the theme of “being quiet”
appears in the literature of the era in the description of those
respectable people who do not cause problems in the community. Philo,
for example, contrasted the “quiet” person with someone who was
Besides, the worthless man whose
life is one long restlessness haunts market-places, theatres,
law-courts, council-halls, assemblies, and every group and gathering
of men; his tongue he lets loose for unmeasured, endless,
indiscriminate talk, bringing chaos and confusion into everything,
mixing true with false, fit with unfit, public with private, holy with
profane, sensible with absurd, because he has not been trained to that
silence (hēsuchian) which in season is most excellent. (Green,
G. L. The letters to the Thessalonians. The Pillar New Testament
Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England: W. B. Eerdmans
Hesuchazo is used 5 times in the
Luke 14:4 But they kept
silent. And He took hold of him, and healed him, and sent him
away. (Comment: Obviously in this context hesuchazo means to be
silent saying nothing and holding one's peace)
Luke 23:56 And they returned
and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested
according to the commandment. (Comment: To be at rest, ceasing
from labor as prescribed by the Sabbath)
Acts 11:18 And when they
heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God,
saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the
repentance that leads to life."
Acts 21:14 And since he
would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, "The
will of the Lord be done!"
1 Thessalonians 4:11 and to
make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to
your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you
There are 37 uses of hesuchazo
in the (Ge 4:7; Ex 24:14; Jdg. 3:11, 30; 5:31; 8:28; 18:7, 9, 27; Ruth
3:18; 2 Ki. 11:20; 2 Chr. 14:1; 23:21; Neh. 5:8; Est. 1:1; Job 3:13,
26; 11:19; 14:6; 32:1, 6; 37:8, 17; Ps. 76:8; 107:30; Prov. 1:33;
7:11; 15:15; 26:20; Isa. 7:4; Jer. 46:27; 47:6f; Lam. 3:26; Ezek.
32:14; 38:11; Zech. 1:11) Below are some representative uses...
Genesis 4:7 If you do well,
will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well (Lxx
reads be still
= hesuchazo = a command in the
to be still or silent), sin is crouching at the door; and its desire
is for you, but you must master it.
Exodus 24:14 But to the
elders he said, Wait
(Lxx = hesuchazo = a command to continue to be still =
here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with
you; whoever has a legal matter, let him approach them.
Judges 3:11 (note) Then the land
had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
Ruth 3:18 (see note) Then she said, "Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter
turns out; for the man will not rest (Lxx = hesuchazo) until he
has settled it today."
Psalm 76:8 (Spurgeon's
Comment) Thou didst cause
judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared, and was still
(Lxx = hesuchazo).
Proverbs 1:33 "But he who
listens to me shall live securely, And shall be at ease (Lxx
= hesuchazo) from the dread of evil."
MacArthur explains that...
In anticipation of the Lord’s
return, believers are to lead peaceful lives, free of conflict and
hostility toward others, which is a witness to the transforming power
of the gospel. (MacArthur,
John: 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Moody Press
McGee has an interesting
“That ye study to be quiet.” That
is an interesting commandment for Christians. We have all kinds of
schools today to teach people to speak. Every seminary has a public
speaking class. Perhaps they should also have a class that would teach
their students to be quiet. A lot of saints need such a course! A lady
went to a “tongues meeting,” and the leader thought she was interested
in speaking in tongues. He asked her, “Madam, would you like to speak
in tongues?” She answered, “No, I would like to lose about forty feet
off the one I have now!” We need to study to be quiet. That is a
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
Guzik's comment brings this
verse home to where we live in America writing that...
The quiet life contradicts the
hugely successful modern attraction to entertainment and excitement.
This addiction to entertainment and excitement is damaging both
spiritually and culturally. We might say that excitement and
entertainment are like a religion for many people today.
· This religion has a god: The
· This religion has priests: Celebrities.
· This religion has a prophet: Music video channels.
· This religion has scriptures: Tabloids and entertainment news and
· This religion has places of worship: Amusement parks, theaters,
concert halls, sports arenas; and we could say that ever television is
a little chapel.
The religion of excitement and
entertainment seduces people into living their lives for one thing -
the thrill of the moment. But these thrills are quickly over and
forgotten, and all that is important is the next fun thing. This
religion conditions its followers to only ask one question: “Is it
fun?” It never wants us to ask more important questions such as, “Is
it true?” “Is it right?” “Is it good?” “Is it godly?”
We need to live the quiet life so that we can really take the time and
give the attention to listen to God. When we live the quiet life we
can listen to God and get to know Him better. (1
In his devotional Our Daily Walk
, F B Meyer writes of Three Ambitions based on the
following three passages...
We make it our aim (we are
ambitious) to be well-pleasing unto Him. (2 Cor 5:9)
Make it your ambition to lead a
quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands...
(1 Thes 4:11)
It has always been my ambition to
preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be
building on someone else's foundation. (NIV, see note
THERE IS scope for ambition within
the sphere of the Christian Faith, and to be without it is to miss an
influential incentive to high and holy endeavour. Our Lord does not
destroy any natural faculty, but directs it to a worthy object.
Instead of living for material good, or the applause of the world, we
must stir ourselves to seek those things which are the legitimate
objects of holy ambition. In two other passages the Apostle Paul uses
this same word. (See passages above)
There is the ambition of daily
toil,--"Be ambitious to be quiet, to do your own business, to work
with your own hands." In the age in which the Apostles lived there was
much unrest, and in the case of the Christian Church this was still
further increased by the expectation of the approaching end of the
world; many were inclined to surrender their ordinary occupations, and
give themselves up to restlessness and excitement, all of which was
prejudicial to the regular ordering of their homes and individual
lives, But the injunction is that we are not to yield to the ferment
of restlessness; we are not to be disturbed by the feverishness around
us, whether of social upheavals or for pleasure or gain.
The ambition to be well-pleasing
to Christ. At His judgment-seat He will weigh up the worth of our
individual mortal life, and He is doing so day by day. Not only when
we pass the threshold of death, but on this side, our Lord is judging
our character and adjudicating our reward. Let us strive to be as
well-pleasing to Him in this life, as we hope to be in the next.
The ambition of Christian work--"Being
ambitious to preach the Gospel." The great world lies open to us, many
parts of it still unevangelized; and all around us in our own country
are thousands, among the rich and poor, who have no knowledge of
Christ. Let us make it our ambition to bring them to Him, always
remembering that the things we do for Christ must be that which He
works through us in the power of the Holy Spirit (see notes
PRAYER - Give us grace, O Lord, to work while it is day,
fulfilling diligently and patiently whatever duty Thou appointest us;
doing small things in the day of small things, and great labours if
Thou summon us to any; rising and working, sitting still and
suffering, according to Thy word. AMEN.
Attend to your own business - The idea is to "mind your own
business". This duty and the one following explain how the
Thessalonians are to go about leading quiet lives. Your own
(Greek idios) places emphasis on one's own affairs, not those of
“Tend to your own knitting” is the
way I used to hear it as a boy. Keep your nose out of the affairs of
other people. This is good advice for Christians. (Ibid)
MacArthur notes that...
The admonition to attend to your
own business was a common one in secular Greek writings but used
only here in the New Testament. (Ibid)
Attend to (4238)(prasso) means to
be occupied with, to accomplish or to practice.
calls for them to be
making this their daily practice or lifestyle to take care of their
Jesus addressed this same
"Who then is the faithful and
sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants,
to give them their rations at the proper time? "Blessed is that slave
whom his master finds so doing when he comes. (Luke 12:42,43)
They are to serve God by a faithful
performance of their own individual tasks. It is a warning against
meddlesomeness in the affairs of others. While having a proper concern
for the needs of the brethren, they must avoid the neglect of their
personal affairs. Let them have the habit of attending to their own
interests and responsibilities. (Ibid)
Barnes comments that the
idea is to...
attend to their own concerns,
without interfering with the affairs of others. See [see note
Comp. 2Th 3:11; 1Ti 5:13;
1 Peter 4:15 [note].
The injunction here is one of the beautiful precepts of Christianity
so well adapted to promote the good order and the happiness of
society. It would prevent the impertinent and unauthorized prying into
the affairs of others, to which many are so prone, and produce that
careful attention to what properly belongs to our calling in life,
which leads to thrift, order, and competence. Religion teaches no man
to neglect his business. It requires no one to give up an honest
calling, and to be idle. It asks no one to forsake a useful occupation
unless he can exchange it for one more useful. It demands, indeed,
that we shall be willing so far to suspend our ordinary labours as to
observe the Sabbath; to maintain habits of devotion; to improve our
minds and hearts by the study of truth; to cultivate the social
affections, and to do good to others as we have an opportunity; but it
makes no one idle, and it countenances idleness in no one. A man who
is habitually idle can have very slender pretensions to piety. There
is enough in this world for every one to do, and the Saviour set such
an example of untiring industry in his vocation, as to give each one
occasion to doubt whether he be his true follower if he be not
disposed to be employed. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
Wiersbe has an interesting
comment observing that...
“Make it your ambition to lead a
quiet life” (1 Thes. 4:11, niv) seems like a paradox; if you are
ambitious, your life will probably not be quiet. But the emphasis is
on quietness of mind and heart, the inner peace that enables a man to
be sufficient through faith in Christ. Paul did not want the saints
running around creating problems as they earned their daily bread. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
AND WORK WITH YOUR HANDS, JUST
AS WE COMMANDED YOU: kai ergazesthai (PMN) tais [idiais] chersin humon,
kathos humin pareggeilamen, (1PAAI): (Acts 20:35; Romans
12:11; 1Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28; 2Th 3:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12;
And (kai) introduces
the second duty that will facilitate leading a quiet life.
Work with your hands - Note
that the phrase with your hands indicates that Paul is
referring to manual labor. It seems that the majority of the saints in
the church at Thessalonica were "working class".
Plummer points out that the
Thessalonian epistles contain
no exhortations to the wealthy, and
no warnings as to the deceitfulness of riches, although there was much
wealth in Thessalonica. (A Commentary on St Paul's First Epistle to
Why address this issue? The
Scripture is not definitive but in view of the emphasis on the Lord's
return it could have been that some were saying "Why work? The Lord's
coming back soon!" This is a reasonable thought but is still
Paul had given the Thessalonians
For you recall, brethren, our labor
and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to
any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. (see note
1 Thes 2:9)
Wiersbe adds that...
Idle people spend their time
interfering with the affairs of others and getting themselves and
others into trouble. “We hear that some among you are idle. They are
not busy; they are busybodies” (2 Thes. 3:11, niv). “But let none of
you suffer... as a busybody in other men’s matters” (see note
1 Peter 4:15). Believers
who are about the Father’s business (Luke 2:49) do not have the
time—or desire—to meddle in the affairs of others.
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
One must also keep the cultural
context in mind for in Paul's day (not much different then our modern
times) manual labor was regarded as degrading, befitting
the status of slaves and free men should never "stoop" to this level.
Thus mundane work was generally despised by aristocrats and those of
higher social status.
The Greek writer Plutarch
while we delight in the work, we
despise the workman, as, for instance, in the case of perfumes and
dyes; we take a delight in them, but dyers and perfumers we regard as
illiberal and vulgar folk.
On the other hand the Jews upheld
the dignity of all forms of labor and regarded work as obligatory and
every Jewish boy (even those in wealthy families) was taught a trade.
The Jewish rabbis also worked at a trade to earn their livelihood (cf
Jesus working as a carpenter).
Christianity advanced the thought
of Judaism and elevated work to a holy occupation as seen in Paul's
exhortation to the saints at Colossae writing...
And whatever you do in word or
deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him
to God the Father. (see note
James Denney said it well
If we cannot he holy at our work,
it is not worth taking any trouble to he holy at other times.
Work (2038)(ergazomai from érgon = work) means to
work, labor or engage in an activity that involves effort. The
opposite of inactivity or idleness. The
calls for this to be
Paul reminded the leaders of
the church of Ephesus of his example in this area declaring that...
In everything I showed you that by
working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the
words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to
give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
Writing to the saints at Rome,
Paul exhorted them to be...
Never be lazy in your work, but
serve the Lord enthusiastically. (NLT
- Tyndale House) (Ro
Paul was not afraid to work
writing to the church at Corinth...
we toil (kopiao
= to the point of exhaustion), working (ergazomai)
with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are
persecuted, we endure (1Cor 4:12)
In a very similar instruction to
the Ephesian church Paul issued the following commands...
Let him who steals
longer; but rather let
) performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may
have something to share with him who has need. (see note
In his second letter to the
Thessalonians Paul wrote at some length about this topic which
apparently was a persistent problem...
For you yourselves know how you
ought (must, it is necessary) to follow our example,
because we did not act in an undisciplined manner (out of order as
soldiers breaking rank) among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread
without paying for it, but with labor (ergazomai) and
hardship (kopos = labor involving toil, weariness, intense effort
to the point of fatigue) we kept working (mochthos = toiling,
referring to afflicting, wearisome labor) night and day so that we
might not be a burden (heavy upon) to any of you; not because we do
not have the right (exousia
- as apostles) to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model
for you, that you might follow our example (mimic or imitate their
example). For even when we were with you, we used to give you this
order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear that
some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at
all, but acting like busybodies (everywhere doing everything but doing
nothing). Now such persons we command (paraggello)
and exhort (parakaleo) in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet
fashion (hesuchia - tranquil, not unruly) and eat their own bread.
(2 Thes 3:7-12)
Paul writing to Titus
on the isle of Crete filled with "lazy (argos = not working) gluttons"
instructed him to
let our people also learn to engage
in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful.
Just as we commanded you -
Paul had instructed them on the topic of work in his initial
presentation of the Gospel. To work was not just meant to inform them
or to make a suggestion but was an
authoritative, apostolic command! Surely, Timothy had brought back
news that some were not fully obeying this command.
Just as (2531)
(kathos from kata = down, according to + hos =
as) means is so far as, inasmuch as, according as. Hiebert points out
that just as
insists upon the exact
correspondence between those orders and the present demands. Those who
were succumbing to these undesirable practices had no excuse for their
Here Paul reminds them that this
charge to carry out "manual labor" was not something new (cf
1Thessalonians 4:2). Paul had
not only given the Thessalonians explicit instructions but he (along
with Silas and Timothy) had also given them an example of hard work, as indicated in chapter two...
For you recall brethren our labor
and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to
any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. (see note
or parangello from para = beside, alongside, near by, at
the side of +
messenger, angello/aggello = to announce) means to hand on or
pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such
as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge.
often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that
the subordinate obey the order from the superior (2Ti 4:1-note)
and required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. (cp Lk 5:14,
8:29, Lk 9:21KJV, Acts 1:4, 4:18; 5:28KJV; Acts 15:5KJV; 1Th
4:11). It is like a mandate (an authoritative command) or a call to
obedience from one in authority.
contexts the main idea was that the announcement was in the form of an
instruction (cp Lk 8:56, 1Cor 7:10, 11:17). Instruction
can simply represent the impartation of knowledge as to how something
should be done, but when this English word translates paraggello, it
indicates directions calling for compliance.
See study of related noun -
MacArthur writes that in
all the uses of parangello...
the idea of binding a person to
make the proper response to an instruction. The soldier was bound to
obey the orders of his superiors; a person involved in a legal matter
was bound by the court’s orders; a person of integrity was bound by
moral principles; a patient was bound to follow his doctor’s
instruction if he wanted to get well; and a successful writer or
speaker was bound by the standards of his craft.
John: Matthew 8-15,
Vincent adds that
A strong word, often of military
orders. Aristotle uses it of a physician: to prescribe. Originally
(paraggello meant) to pass on or transmit; hence, as a military term,
of passing a watchword or command; and so generally to command.
in some contexts was like our modern subpoena, and to disregard it
made a person liable to severe punishment. It was used for a doctor’s
prescription or instruction to their patient.
Every use of paraggello
includes the inherent idea of binding the hearer or recipient in a way
that they make the proper response to the charge or instruction.
Paraggello was used by
persons in various positions of authority, and thus could represent
military commands or instructions of the philosophers (Epictetus),
doctor (giving a prescription or instructions - for the patient's
good!), judge (issuing a "subpoena" - to disregard it made a
person liable to severe punishment), etc. The
essential element was that someone was placed under an
To transmit a message giving instructions (Mt 10:5, Mk 6:8,
Acts 23:30, 1 Ti 1:3, 1 Ti 6:17).
To pass on an order from one to another, in sense of issuing a
directive from an authoritative source.
To charge (entrust with a task or responsibility; place a
burden upon or assign responsibility to).
To command or give a commandment. To command conveys the
sense of to order (as when giving an authoritative order), require, or
Xenophon used paraggello of a military order (cp Acts 16:24 and he, having
received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and
fastened their feet in the stocks.) It represents a directive from an
authoritative source. As a military command it demanded that a
subordinate obey the order from the superior exhibiting unhesitating
and unqualified obedience.
Paraggello was commonly used
in the Ptolemaic papyri to describe the official summons before a
court, the equivalent of a modern subpoena, which to disregard made a
person liable to severe punishment.
There are 31 uses of
Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus
sent out after instructing (commanded Mt 10:5KJV) them: "Do not
go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the
Matthew 15:35 And He directed (commanded Mt 15:35KJV) the
people to sit down on the ground;
Mark 6:8 and He instructed (commanded Mk 6:8KJV) them that they
should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff-- no bread,
no bag, no money in their belt--
Mark 8:6 And He directed (commanded Mk 8:6KJV) the people to
sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks
and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to
them, and they served them to the people.
Mark 16:8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and
astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for
they were afraid. (See comment for use of paraggello)
manuscripts end at this verse, as some of these earlier manuscripts do
not include Mark 16:9-20. The following shorter ending is found in
some MSS: "They reported briefly to those around Peter all that they
had been commanded."
Luke 5:14 And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show
yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just
as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Luke 8:29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out
of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with
chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his
bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.
Luke 8:56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to
tell no one what had happened.
Luke 9:21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell
this to anyone,
Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to
leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised,
"Which," He said, "you heard of from Me;
Acts 4:18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them
not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 5:28 saying, "We gave (paraggello) you strict orders (noun
- paraggelia) not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have
filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's
blood upon us."
Acts 5:40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in,
they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of
Jesus, and then released them.
Comment: Some "orders" are
to be disobeyed, because other orders supersede them, having come in
this case for the Captain of our salvation - Read what the disciples
did in Acts 5:41, 42. Would God grant all of us such Spirit enabled
boldness to proclaim Jesus regardless of the shame it might bring us
from those who do not believe! Amen.
Acts 10:42 (Peter speaking - the Gospel goes now to the Gentiles
[Cornelius]) "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and
solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God
as Judge of the living and the dead.
Acts 15:5 (The Jerusalem Council) But some of the sect of the
Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to
circumcise them and to direct (commanded Acts 15:5KJV) them to
observe the Law of Moses."
Acts 16:18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was
greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command
you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out
at that very moment.
Comment: In contrast to much
writing on "exorcism", here we see the words of Paul (surely under the
control and empowerment of the Holy Spirit) were sufficient. Paul was
speaking as Jesus' ambassador, in His place, and giving a command the
demons must obey. Unfortunately this area of demonic possession and so
called exorcism has been greatly sensationalized and is fraught with
much false teaching. Be a Berean! (Acts 17:11) Stick to the
Scriptures, lest you be drawn into aberrant teaching!
Acts 16:23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them
into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;
Acts 17:30 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is
now declaring (commandeth Acts 17:30KJV) to men that all people
everywhere should repent,
Acts 23:22 So the commander let the young man go, instructing
him, "Tell no one that you have notified me of these things."
Acts 23:30 "When I was informed that there would be a plot against the
man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing (gave
commandment to Acts 123:30KJV) his accusers to bring charges against
him before you."
1 Corinthians 7:10 But to the married I give instructions
(command 1Co 7:10KJV) , not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not
leave her husband
1 Corinthians 11:17 But in giving this instruction, I
do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but
for the worse.
Comment: In using
paraggello, Paul is not simply giving random instructions, that they
might or might not follow as it were merely "personal advice."
Instead, like a military commander he was giving them apostolic
instruction which they were commanded to accept and follow.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-note
and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your
own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded
you, (see the noun paraggelia in 1Th 4:2 where it describes strictly
commands received from a superior and transmitted to others)
2 Thessalonians 3:4 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you,
that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who
leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you
received from us.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to
give you this order (commanded 2Th 3:10KJV): if anyone is
not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
2 Thessalonians 3:12 Now such persons we command and exhort in
the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own
1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain
on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach
1 Timothy 4:11 Prescribe
(command 1Ti 4:11KJV) and teach these things.
John MacArthur: Everything
God commanded Timothy to be he was to command others to be. The
excellent minister’s preaching is to be authoritative, done in a
command mode. Such preaching imitates God Himself, of whom Paul wrote
in Acts 17:30, “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere
should repent.” Jesus commanded His hearers to repent and believe, as
John the Baptist had done. The Father commanded all to hear His Son
and obey. Every call to believe the gospel with repentance is a
command. Every call to saints to obey the Word is a command that is to
come with authority. To Titus Paul wrote, “These things speak and
exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you”
1 Timothy 5:7
(command 1Ti5:7KJV) these things as well, so that they may be above
1 Timothy 6:13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives
life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good
confession before Pontius Pilate,
1 Timothy 6:17 Instruct
those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix
their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly
supplies us with all things to enjoy.
There are 13 uses of paraggello
(Jos. 6:7; 1 Sam.
10:17; 15:4; 23:8; 1 Ki. 12:6; 15:22; 2 Chr. 36:22; Ezr. 1:1; Jer.
46:14; 50:29; 51:27; Dan. 2:18; 3:4)
1 Samuel 23:8 So Saul
summoned (Lxx = paraggello) all the people for war, to go down to
Keilah to besiege David and his men.
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first
year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD
by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king
of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation (Lxx = paraggello)
throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,